Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Final Touches on the Cat Topiary Garden

Bird Finials and Gold Necklaces Beaded
The end is in sight with the cat topiary garden--hurrah!  (Although I should not cheer as when the stitching is over it will be time to make this up into a wall hanging--and I hate finishing.)  This last week I was able to add beads and tent stitches to finish up the actual stitching.  First, the beads.  They went on the canvas in several places:  the topiaries, the cat statues and the bird finials on the garden gate.

I used four colors:  the topiaries got a size 11/0 hex shaped bead in teal green from Miyuki.  These have a lot of sparkle because they are six-sided.  The cat statues' necklaces are made from gold hex beads, but this time from Sundance.  The gold beads are size 14/0, which means they are smaller than the teal ones. (The larger the number, the smaller the bead, just like needles.)  The bird finials use white round beads like little pearls from Miyuki that are size 15/0 and pale blue hex beads (also from Miyuki) that are size 11/0.  Note that I mixed various bead sizes and shapes on the finials.

The topiaries got teal green beads scattered at random to make them stand out a little bit.  If you look at the photo, you'll see that the beads are placed to sort of enhance the shapes.  However, if you don't do random, just put a bead approximately where the eye of the cat, fish, mouse or bird would be, then pour 6-10 more beads on the topiary.  (More beads go on the larger topiaries and fewer on the smaller ones.)  Shove them around with your needle's tip until you like the distribution.  Mark the approximate position of each bead on a xerox of the canvas, then slide the beads off the canvas into a tray so you can pick them up one by one to attach them in the positions marked on the paper copy.

The cat statue necklaces have each gold hex bead attached separately just as if I were doing tent stitches.  By the way, I thought about using the same gold hex beads on the gold lock in the gate, but when I put a bead on top, it didn't look good. So I tent stitched the lock with gold Kreinik and the keyhole with black Trebizond silk perle.  In the photo above, I haven't stitch the lock yet.

Beads on the Topiary Bushes
The final beaded area are the bird finials that top the gate which are visible in the top photo.  They were the most interesting area to bead because I had to mix round white pearl beads in size 15/0 with hex shaped blue beads that are larger (size 11/0).  I don't recommend mixing bead sizes unless you want an effect like larger and smaller seeds in a pea pod, for example.  But since I could only find the right colors in such different beads, I was stuck.  I had to mix them.  So how to attach them so that they would look ok, even with the differences in the shapes and sizes?  In this instance brick stitch is your friend.

Remember Robin King's diagram for using brick stitch to attach beads?  Each bead nestles in the hole between two threads.  This means there is a little space between each bead and the thread used to attach them shows a bit. In other words, each blue hex bead is not jammed up against each white pearl bead.  The space between them hides the fact that they are not the same size and shape.

If I had tried to solidly bead the finials in tent stitches, the size and type differences between the white and blue beads would have been emphasized.  Which is fine for some effects but not for the finials.  I needed a smooth look despite the differences between the two colors of beads.  Brick stitch gave that to me.

Now it is time to start to assemble the cat topiary garden into a wall hanging.  More on that later.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com

Mrs. Kreinik Retires

We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Kreinik family for the metallic threads that make our stitching lives so wonderful. I believe they opened the door for other thread manufacturers to walk though so that today we have a huge range of choice when it comes to picking threads.  I thought you'd like to read a bit about Mrs. Estelle Kreinik's retirement party at their Parkersburg, West Virginia location, and that you'd like to join me in wishing a real needlepoint pioneer well in retirement.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com